PICS staff honoured for ‘innovative and impactful’ work to support Carers

On Tuesday 22 November, the Nottinghamshire Carers Association (NCA) awarded two special accolades to Primary Integrated Community Services. The Carer Friendly Service Quality Mark was presented to the PICS Care Navigation Services, and the Employer-friendly Quality Mark was for PICS as a whole.   

Primary Integrated Community Services (PICS) is the first organisation in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to achieve a Carer-friendly accreditation as both an employer and service provider.

PICS, which is owned and run by GPs, employs over 400 healthcare staff to provide primary and community care to the residents of Nottinghamshire on behalf of the NHS. 

The PICS Care Navigation team works with residents living with long term conditions who are registered to GP Surgeries in Broxtowe (Eastwood, Stapleford, Kimberley and Beeston) and Mid Nottinghamshire (Ashfield, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood). They support them to manage their condition, remain independent and avoid hospital admissions. 

NCA’s Stephanie Smith and Jayne Davies presented the award to mark Carer’s Rights Day. They highlighted the team’s ‘innovative and impactful approach’ to supporting Carers which has led to ‘a significant increase in the number of Carers coming forward and getting the support they’re entitled to.” 

Stephanie said: “Many Carers miss out on support that can make a real difference. The PICS team has enhanced their compassionate and empathetic service by adding Carers to the Carers register, ensuring they get support they are entitled to. With their innovative and impactful approach, I am confident that they will never miss an opportunity to identify a Carer.” 

The ceremony was part of the UK’s annual Carers’ Rights Day which is highlighting the Costs of Caring. Research shows 12,000 people in the UK become carers every day. That’s roughly 500 people an hour, and 8 people a minute. It is estimated by Carers UK that there were nearly 190,00 Carers within Nottinghamshire in 2021 (Carers UK, 2021). 

Case study In October 2022, an elderly patient living in Mansfield started to receive end of life care. Thier GP raised the case with a team of clinicians and care coordinators who work together to provide the best care for their patients. Tracey Rowles, a Care Navigator in the team, identified that the patient’s daughter was the Carer and that she may struggle with her loved one’s deteriorating condition. Tracey called the patient’s daughter who consented to being registered as a Carer in her GP records, and also agreed to be referred to the local social prescribing service for more support. Tracey said: “The lady’s Carer’s status is now known and she will be offered appropriate support, like flu jabs, in the future. She will also receive support from a social prescriber to ensure she can continue to care for her mother. She was very grateful for the telephone call and thanked the team for highlighting the service of social prescribing to her.”

The awards follows a rigous process in which PICS demonstrated their commitment to carers by attending training, making pledges and acting upon these, accessing resources, and promoting Nottinghamshire Carers Hub. They also recruited and connected with Carers Champions in medical practices and across services within PICS, providing signposting and referral services to the Carers Hub and other support for carers. 

Dr Paul Scullard, local GP, Clinical Director of Eastwood neighbourhood, and Deputy Medical Director of PICS said: “It’s wonderful to see the recognition of the work the Care Navigation teams do supporting not only patients but their Carers and family. I witness daily the impact of their interventions and they are frequently life changing for patients and families.” 

Dr Thilan Bartholomeuz, a local GP and Clinical Director of Mid Nottinghamshire’s Place Based Partnership, said, “‘The role of carers in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is immeasurable. The invaluable Care Navigation Service has been key to supporting carers, working closely with practice teams and signposting patients and carers to services and support. The service has grown from strength to strength and is now an integral part of primary care.”